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Digital Marketing

Hotels and travel brands seeking to boost their search engine rankings need to put sector-specific SEO strategies in place to achieve their goals. While there might be some SEO practices that produce effective results across all industries, recent research from Searchmetrics discovered that businesses operating in the travel market needed to adapt common approaches to reflect customer expectations and their user experience.

The findings demonstrate why it’s necessary for firms in the competitive industry to continuously reassess and adapt their hotel digital marketing strategy. With nine in ten consumers researching and booking their holidays online, how far up the search engine results your hotel is placed has a significant impact on reservations. Your hotel’s website needs to be accessible, functional, and SEO friendly to maximise opportunities and turn potential leads into customers.

Years ago, search algorithms ranked all pages on a single set of criteria but that’s changed. Today, Google has developed hugely and through assessing the terms searched, can identify the context. It’s led to different criteria for various industries- after all consumers don’t want the same experience when searching for a holiday as when they’re looking for financial information. For those responsible for digital marketing for hotels it’s essential that the intelligent progress search engines are making is factored into strategies.

So, which factors need to be considered when formulating a hotel digital marketing strategy?

1. Consumers like to browse

When booking a holiday, consumers like to browse and this is reflected in the specifics that Google looks for when they make travel related searches. Internal links are a key way to help visitors navigate their way through your website. The study found that the top performing travel websites had around 23% more internal links, indicating that connecting your content and information could give your website a boost up those all-important rankings.

2. Images attract attention

With keywords and copy in your mind, you might be tempted to reduce the number or size of the images you use on your website. But you’d be making a mistake. Holidaymakers want to see quality images of their destination and hotels, it’s a customer expectation that SEO is reflecting. Travel websites that come out top have around 38% more images over 200 pixels per page and while they load slower, there’s value in using large photographs.

SEO Practices

3. Travellers want details

Short and sweet copy might be the way content produced for other industries is going but for the travel sector long form copy is the way forward. Travellers want to get as much information and will take the time to read comprehensive copy if it’s engaging and interesting. Across all sectors the pages that rank in the top ten have an average of 1,633 words per page. For the travel sector it’s a figure that soars by more than half, with the average page featuring over 2,500 words. Longer content doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider readability and make it simple for readers to pick out key information. Longer bullet point lists can give you an extra push up the SEO rankings too.

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Social Media

Social media is a constantly evolving arena. The speed with which new features are launched and new tools made available demands that you keep your finger on the pulse. If you are guilty of not staying up to date, there could be a plethora of social media advances that you aren’t using to stay relevant, grow your direct bookings and strengthen occupancy rates. If your social media knowledge has lapsed, read on to discover some of the latest features to hit the world’s most popular networks and find out how you can leverage them to your hotel’s advantage.

Live streaming

One area that should form a key part of your hotel digital marketing strategy is the use of live streaming. Opening a beautiful new swimming pool or spa for you guests to enjoy? You can live stream yourselves cutting the ribbon and capture the glorious moment children dive into the new pool. Want to show off your delicious all-inclusive hotel restaurant? Live-stream right from the kitchen to show your chef preparing some mouth-watering main courses. Live streaming has the benefit of putting viewers inside your hotel and trumps pre-recorded footage in this regard. Facebook, Twitter and Periscope all have live-streaming options, making this function one of the social media marketing trends you and your team should make the most of.

social-networking

Your story

Snapchat changed the social media game when it brought the use of stories into the fray. This 24-hour feature allows you to upload video or image content that will last for a day after you’ve posted it before being automatically deleted.

Aside from keeping a fresh picture of what life is like at your hotel for potential guests to view at their leisure, the more content you post on Snapchat means the greater your viewership will be. Why? Snapchat’s story feature automatically adds the newest story content to the top of a user’s story list, meaning that you’ll be boosted back to the top every time you update. Instagram also offers a story function, with many big brands using this to give followers a look behind the scenes. Stories are immediate, less scripted than other forms of marketing and can help you build a stronger rapport with your followers. If you haven’t yet tried stories, there’s no better time than right now to incorporate them into your hotel digital marketing strategy.

Create quick loading pages

Facebook announced in August that it would soon factor page loading time into its News Feed algorithm, meaning those users who access Facebook from mobile will be presented with mobile-friendly, fast-loading pages first. Keep this in mind when you’re writing and sharing Facebook posts on your business page as slow loading pages will be pushed further down News Feed.

Pinterest visual discovery features

If your hotel maintains Pinterest boards, you might be keen to know about the network’s work on new visual discovery features. If your hotel is located in a particularly picturesque location, or is packed with great décor, taking advantage of these changes can make your imagery more prominent on Pinterest. Recently, the network added Search and Lens to the home page feed for app users but, it’s also further developing its visual search tool and has added pinch to zoom. Pinterest reports visual searches have grown 60% in the last 12 months so it’s well worth focusing on imagery to grow your visibility.

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